from the spring/summer 2016 issue of Reflections magazine.
for this article in PDF format A Dog Named Grace
By Diane Thrush
In the winter of 2005 our grandson died. In the days immediately afterward, each day we followed the same routine – we got up, got dressed and went to our son and daughter in law’s house for the day returning long after dark.
On the third day we returned home to find a beautiful white and tan Border Collie in our driveway. She smiled at us, a big toothy, wide smile, and wagged her tail. Literally, it was very dark for us, and there she was in the dark.
The last thing we needed was to care for a stray at that point, so we didn’t feed her or take care of her and tried to shoo her away. She had no collar or tags so we could not even begin to locate her owner. We expected her to move on to find shelter and food. But, she didn’t go away.
Each night there she was when we came home, smiling and wagging her tail. After several nights, we decided to at least give her water. Finally, one night as we drove in, we both realized how comforting it was to see that smiling face and be welcomed by such an inviting presence. I said to my husband, “We are keeping her, and we are naming her Grace.”
She was like God’s grace, just there, available and unearned, uninvited, coming into our lives at a time when grace was needed most. I had no doubt God had sent her to us to remind us of his grace even in the darkness.
We are dog people and tried to take her into our home. She had no interest in coming in. She made her bed in a clump of Gulf Muhley grass. Its growth is stunted still and reminds me of her when I look at its misshapen form. In the daytime she stayed with our neighbor and helped him build his house. He was alone and loved her company. But as soon as it was dark, she waited for us in the driveway. She eventually came in the house for brief periods to go out in the back yard and play with our other dog. But as soon as the games were over, she wanted out again.
Grace saw us through a lot of pain and was always there with her smile. After five years she eventually died of cancer. The gift of Grace, a dog named Grace, and the gift of the grace of God remains to this day. I will be forever grateful for both.
Diane Thrush is a retired chaplain and a member of St. Luke’s, San Antonio. Reach Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org
For further reflection
When has God sent you a gift to lighten your darkness?
Have you experienced God’s grace as “available, unearned, and uninvited.”
To read the entire spring/summer 2016 issue, or to read more articles from the issue, go here.